Toller Tips: DIY Dog Paddle Pool for Small Spaces

Updated: Sep 16, 2019


How does this work? Henry figuring out the floating solar fountain. Photo Credit: Toller Tails

Beating the heat, when your humans live in a small space can be tough. Often there’s no yard space. Urban dogs face additional challenges, such as having fewer dog parks and greenspaces to hangout in and cool off.


Considering the limitations of small urban spaces like apartment balconies, setting up a kiddie pool for your pooch isn’t an option. During these super warm dog days of summer, what’s an urban dog to do?


The Small Spaces DIY Dog Paddle Pool Challenge

Using my #Ducktoller problem solving skills, I asked my humans to help create a doggie paddle pool for small spaces, like apartment balconies, that works for both small to medium sized dogs.


To make it more challenging, I asked my humans to include water feature and make it for under $50 Canadian dollars.


With a little tail wagging encouragement from me, my humans accepted my Toller challenge. The result was a balcony sized DIY Dog Paddle Pool with a floating solar fountain for under $50.00 Canadian (See photo above.)


How to Make Your Own Small Spaces Dog Paddle Pool for under $50 with an Optional Solar Fountain


Step 1: Assess Your Small Space & Your Dog’s Needs

  • Determine what shape your small space dog paddle pool will be. The odds are that your small spaces DIY Dog Paddle Pool will be rectangular or square. However, it’s worthwhile examining your small space needs and thinking about what shape will meet all your practical, safety and aesthetic needs.

  • Measure the area on your balcony with a tape measure. When measuring for your sall spaces DIY Dog Paddle Pool, make sure to leave enough room around the edge of your paddle pool area. You want to ensure that your dog can get in safely and get their paws wet.

  • Measure the length of your dog when they are standing up and also laying down. Sounds weird, but yes, it’s important that you measure your dog. To create a safe small spaces DIY Dog Paddle Pool, my humans measured the distance from the front of my paws to the back of my paws using a tape measure. The reason they measured me was to ensure I had enough space to stand and splash around if I wanted, or be able to lay down comfortably and cool off.


Step 2: Find a Shallow Rubber or Plastic Tote or Tub for your Small Spaces DIY Dog Paddle Pool. You need a shallow container that is easy to access for your dog. A bucket or pail will not work because your dog can knock it over trying to get into it. Also, it can be hazardous if it’s too deep. A shallow container such as an under the bed storage bin works well. For smaller dogs, a shallow baby bathtub also works. It's critical that whatever container you use for your DIY Dog Paddle Pool that it be a shallow and have low edge.


🐾 Bonus Toller Money Saving Tip: Look under your bed or in your closet for shallow storage bin first before spending money.


What Containers Did My Humans Use? My humans found clothing storage totes worked best. They made two Small Spaces DIY Dog Paddle Pools for my challenge.


Option A for small dogs was made using Hefty brand’s clear 32 Quart Tote for $15.99 CDN plus taxes.


Henry Examining Option A - Small Spaces DIY Dog Paddle Pool for Small Dogs

  • (See photo to the left for Option A - Small Dog DYI Dog Paddle Pool)





Option B for medium sized dogs was made using Hefty brand’s 52 quart white underbed tote for $19.99 CDN plus taxes.

  • (See photo to the right for Option B - Medium Sized Dog DYI Dog Paddle Pool)


Option B - Medium Sized Dog DYI Dog Paddle Poo

Since each storage tote came with a lid, they just put the lid in a closet until it was time to re-purpose the Small Spaces DIY Dog Paddle Pool for storage.


Step 3. Clean and Prep Your Chosen Shallow Tote or Tub. Whether you decide to buy your shallow container at a store, or re-purpose a safe storage container from under your bed, it’s a good idea to wash it out before using it. Simply wash it with mild soap and hot water. Rinse it well before using.


Step 4. Fill Your Small Spaces DIY Dog Paddle Pool with only a Few Inches of Cool Fresh Water. Once you’ve placed your container in your small outdoor space, it’s time to fill it! No watering hose, no problem. Simply find the biggest bowl you have or a clean empty pail to carry water. Then start filling your pool with fresh cool water. Do not fill-up your entire DIY Dog Paddle Pool. Only fill it with a couple of inches or centimeters of water.


🐾 My DIY Dog Paddle Pool is only 6.5 inches tall.

So, my humans only filled it with 3 inches of water. Just enough water for me to splash in, cool off and operate the floating solar water fountain, which was part of my water enrichment toys.


Step 5. Add Dog Enrichment Toys or Even a Floating Solar Fountain. Consider taking a few of your dog's toys that float and putting them in your DIY Dog Paddle Pool. Your dog will be intrigued to see their old dog toys in this new environment. Also, they make an exciting splash sound in the water.

  • Floating Solar Fountain Enrichment Option: My humans got the idea of adding a floating solar fountain to my small spaces DIY Dog Paddle Pool from the children’s water splash area in our local park. They thought it would attract my Toller attention and make my paddle pool more mentally stimulating. They were right! I spend lots of time trying to figure out how the floating fountain works and I can push it around with my nose!

o My humans went online and found a solar powered floating fountain for $18.74 CDN plus taxes. If you are looking online, some online retailers call them floating solar birdbath fountains, because they are meant to work in shallow water. (See the Option B photo above to view the floating solar powered fountain.)


o They found the floating solar fountain easy to assemble and put it in my small spaces DIY Dog Paddle Pool. Once the sun came out, the fountain worked! Sometimes, I lay by my paddle pool waiting to catch the fountain off guard before it sprays.


Step 6. Regularly Change the Water in Your DIY Dog Paddle Pool. No one likes stagnant water. It smells and can cause health issues. That’s why you must regularly change the water in your DIY Dog Paddle Pool. Ensuring your pool is filled with clean cool water will make it more attractive for your dog to splash in.


What to do with Your DIY Dog Paddle Pool When You No Longer Need It? Clean it with mild soap and water. Then dry it out. Ensure there is no water left inside or outside the tote or tub you used. Then re-purpose it or use it for storage until the next summer heatwave hits. My humans used the Option A - Small Dog DIY Dog Paddle Pool to store my old dog toys.


If you are an urban dog with a small outdoor space, then this is just one way your humans can help you beat the heat.


For other #TollerTips on how stay cool during a heat wave, check out our previous post: Having a Heatwave? Help Your Hound Stay Cool.


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